Book #29: Enchanted Glass

Enchanted Glass

I don’t know about you but magic is best when it is limitless. Think Harry Potter and you’ll see what I mean; go to school to learn magic and the more you learn the more you realize they have a spell for almost everything. If I went to Hogwarts I would probably be like Hermione; studying my butt off in order to perform as much magic as possible. Yet there is something wholly enjoyable about a book with magic that has large limitations. It allows for other sinister and evil characteristics to show through.

In Dianna Wynn Jones’ Enchanted Glass, magic takes on a very mysterious yet real feel. When Andrew Hope inherits Melstone house he plans for a quiet and early retirement from the University where he can write his book in peace. Unfortunately for him his dreams are pushed to the side when young Aiden Cain arrives at on his front door seeking help from Andrew’s late grandfather who was a magician. As the bond between the two grows, they discover a great deal about each other and the magical world that exists within the property of Melstone house. And as they do the truth begins to show that their problems may be connected and that maybe Aiden’s arrival was more than just misfortune.

This is a great chapter book for young readers, though older readers would enjoy it as well. Dianne Wynn Jones is a masterful storyteller who takes simplistic stories and weaves them using advanced literary elements. The result? Her books are entertaining for all ages regardless of reading level. Patience with plot is key to the success of a book, but taking the time to let the events play out naturally is a tool of the experienced author who understands storytelling.

This book was good, but not my favorite from Jones The plot was unique with a slew of fairy tale references, but it wasn’t able to hook me until later in the story. The scope of the story was rather limited in effect; the small town where the story takes place is in no real threat. The only threat is to the main characters, and that threat is not very concrete. This is a book that focuses primarily on character development, which means it move slower and spends more time focused on the characters than the plot. This is usually something I latch onto and love (the Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater and Howl’s Moving Castle Series by Diane Wynn Jones to name a few) but this book lacked a concrete focus.

This being said I wouldn’t throw it out or put it in the bad book pile (and yes, I do have that book list for myself). This is a good story, but I would only give it 3.5 to 4 stars. Some of her characters are bordering on ridiculous, but that’s what makes them fun! In fact the only relatively normal character is Aiden and Andrew (Andrew most of the time). Other than that she gives us a raw look at human nature with all it’s quirks and doesn’t shirk from giving main players disabilities. She knows what many authors don’t. These disabilities and weaknesses make them more relatable.

Though this wasn’t my favorite, it continues to show Jones’ masterful ability as a story teller. She took a simplistic story and wove it using more advanced literary elements to create a children’s novel for all audiences.

After reading many of her books, I can tell that Jones has a considerable amount of patience as a writer. She lets the events play out naturally and allows the characters to make decisions that fit their personalities rather than singling out plot progression. If you don’t read this book I would recommend reading at least one of her books. Her style as well as loyalty to the art of writing is something everyone should enjoy.

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